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Facebook Files For a Patent To Track Its Users On Other Sites

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the right-hand-not-tracking-left-hand dept.

Facebook 133

suraj.sun sends word that a recent Facebook patent application details specific methods for tracking its users while they're using other websites. Michael Arrington pointed out over the weekend that this follows explicit statements from Facebook employees that the social networking giant has "no interest in tracking people." Quoting the Patent Application: "In one embodiment, a method is described for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain. The method includes maintaining a profile for each of one or more users of the social networking system, each profile identifying a connection to one or more other users of the social networking system and including information about the user. The method additionally includes receiving one or more communications from a third-party website having a different domain than the social network system, each message communicating an action taken by a user of the social networking system on the third-party website. The method additionally includes logging the actions taken on the third-party website in the social networking system, each logged action including information about the action."

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133 comments

So Facebook admits it (1)

gbl08ma (1904378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592088)

...and now that's not a "secret" anymore, tries to patent it.

Google could run for the patent too. At the end, they're basically the same, and I think Google actually collects more data than Facebook (much more people doing Google searches than those having a Facebook account).

Cookie exchanger (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592190)

IS there any way it might be feasible to set up some sort of cookie exchanger service. The idea would be like randomly exchanging supermarket loyalty cards with strangers so the data they collect becomes useless to identify with an individual.

What would be needed would be some way to keep a set of real facebook cookies" tucked away for when you are on facebook and then have another completely valid set of cookies used for general web browsing. But you keep swapping these complete and self-consistent sets with random individuals.

is that possible?

Re:Cookie exchanger (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592474)

I suspect a browser plugin wouldn't be too bad to find/write.

Good names:
    "CookieSwaper"
    "MixedNutCookies"

Re:Cookie exchanger (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592508)

is that possible?

Possible, yes. Likely, no.

The technically savvy and privacy oriented users who would want a service have other means to protect themselves. Less savvy users would at least be wary of the service. It would finally fall apart for the same two reasons that loyalty card swapping falls apart lack of problems from not swapping and loss of rewards (like gas discounts) that require a card be used and registered and will give it value so it won't be freely traded.

Re:Cookie exchanger (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592820)

Such a plugin existed, but as far as i know it was suspended by its creators, because its to dangerous that actual identity theft happens because of this plugin.

Re:So Facebook admits it (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592322)

...and now that's not a "secret" anymore, tries to patent it.

Google could run for the patent too. At the end, they're basically the same, and I think Google actually collects more data than Facebook (much more people doing Google searches than those having a Facebook account).

Soon to be followed by the following patent applications:

- Capturing the souls of Internet Users

- Converting Internet Users into lemmings

- Tracking users movements while their computers are actually turned off

- Tracking tooth decay in users.

- Tracking users after they have died

- Tracking the worms (after the worms crawled in, the worms crawled out and the worms played pinochle on your snout.)

Let me get this right.. (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592110)

So they went from denying that they track people outside of Facebook...to patenting the process? What time is it? I clearly missed the logic train.

Re:Let me get this right.. (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592182)

It's called "lying". Anymore, what companies SAY they're going to do and what they ACTUALLY do rarely have anything in common.

Re:Let me get this right.. (2)

tech4 (2467692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592320)

No. Just because they patented it doesn't mean they're actually using it. Companies patent lots of things all the time.

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592442)

Sure, just like Apple's spying tech, they just patented it so the bad guys wouldn't be able to use it, see? ^_^

Re:Let me get this right.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592596)

LOL you brought an Apple diss into an unrelated article. WELL DONE internet nerd who hates some company and likes another, WELL DONE

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592928)

Looks like someone's purchase, and thus their worth as a human, is being threatened. Better defend it!

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593018)

Sure, just like Apple's spying tech, they just patented it so the bad guys wouldn't be able to use it, see? ^_^

Not to take sides on the absolute issue here, but there is a huge difference between patenting something and actually using it. This is part of why the patent system is so horrible.

There are plenty of scenarios that can lead to a company filing a patent. To list a few:

  • A team of research employees devises a series of techniques to track users.
  • Maybe one employee on his "Google Friday" (or equivalent) decided to track people as a pet project.
  • Maybe you just acquired a company who, along with other intellectual property, had developed a novel method for tracking users.
  • Maybe you just woke up in the morning with a cool idea.

Bottom line is that if Facebook spends money researching, developing, and/or devising a technique, they will patent it, regardless of whether or not it will ever see the light of day. There's no downside. Worst-case it sits there and they waste trivial amounts of money. Best-case they use it to gain significant market advantage. Everything in between, from licensing to lawsuits, just raises the company's bottom line, and the mere possession of such a patent increases the company's overall worth and also makes it more threatening to would-be rivals or other lawsuit-threatening companies.

Furthermore, Facebook is easily able to deploy the technique regardless of whether or not they patent it. The main reason for acquiring a patent is to increase your intellectual inventory, which has nothing to do with real-world operations.

Now granted, patents like this are stupid... and Facebook is evil, so they're probably doing this and much worse.

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593070)

Bottom line is that if Facebook spends money researching, developing, and/or devising a technique, they will patent it, regardless of whether or not it will ever see the light of day.

Lawyer: So, what does this patent do?

Technologist: It personifies everything everyone hates about our company in one easy to understand package. Also it may produce the kind of data that the government will then routinely demand we turn over.

Lawyer: Okay, as you know the patent filing procedure, once my fees are paid and we've drafted the white paper, will run around $30,000.00.

Business Analyst: And just think what this will do to our reputation! Oh well, we invented it we have to patent it.

Somehow -- I think not.

-GiH

Re:Let me get this right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592470)

And heeere comes the denial train! Choooo! Chooooo!!
...straight over your face, motherfucker! ;))

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

gbl08ma (1904378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592188)

The problem: there was no logic train - It's illogical (like most things in Facebook IMHO).

As I said on the first comment of this story, one possible logical explanation is that now that FB tracking's not a "secret" (w/ quotes), they admit and patent it!

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592552)

I wonder how people could believe Facebook isn't tracking them when there are so many sites that indeed do use a FB creds to log in and participate. Thick-headed much?

Re:Let me get this right.. (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592428)

The claim that they don't track users runs on CNN where all the Facebook users see it while the patent news runs on Slashdot, where the security experts who are already seen by their friends and family as tinfoil hatters see it. It's not illogical. It's a calculated lie.

Re:Let me get this right.. (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592478)

Sounds like it's time to create a cookie-swapping service. Install this Firefox plug-in, and your facebook "logged out" cookie will be replaced by a random person's. Then go ahead and "like" whatever sites you want.

I trade my "frequent shopper" cards with people all the time. And the ones that give you a discount on gas? It ends up you can key in a phone number at the gas pump. So pick a random phone number, or a phone number of your arch-enemy, and get a gas discount! (shhh don't tell!)

Re:Let me get this right.. (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593122)

I do the same thing with the shopper discount cards. The whole thing is bullshit. If you look at the discounted prices you can readily see how much value they assign to your purchasing history. If they didn't they would just set the discount price as the regular price and be done with it.

The easy way to defeat is to share a single phone number with everyone and not care about the gas. Somebody might be taking the credits at the pump, but who cares really. The whole point is to get the discount price. If you shop smart and keep to the discount items and figure out the time intervals, you can save more money than you ever would on the gas.

For instance, there is a two week interval on sales of boneless skinless chicken. Just wait for it and then load up. That is what a freezer in the garage is for, although heavens help you if the power goes out.

Picking a random phone number and trying to get gas credits is not an idea I would be spreading around. There are cameras at the pump and some people really do spend thousands of dollars every month or so with a medium sized family. You are taking something of actual monetary value away from them and I can imagine at some point, especially in this economy, you will run across somebody that was expecting the credits to be there. Considering your license plate is recorded at the pump, in addition to probably using a payment method that can be tracked, not a good idea to do something that could be a misdemeanor at best, and at worst used with some trumped up interpretations to label you as a hacker and turn it into a felony.

I don't think I am going overboard here. There are always some low-level people in the DA's office looking to make a name for themselves or just having a bad day. You never really know.

*****
As for Facebook:

The answer to FaceBook is not to participate with FaceBook. I always see people complaining and I am reminded of WHOPPER from WarGames where it takes him playing Tic Tac Toe against itself a couple million times before it learns the greatest wisdom much of us need to learn..... the correct move is not to play. I have said many times that I would renounce my citizenship and live on an island made out floating garbage like the people in Water World before I get a single social networking account. That part, I am dead serious about.

That is our biggest problem, specifically, that we cannot find the will power to just say no, or to suffer some inconveniences.

I have not paid for TV (which is subsidizing your exposure to advertisements) for over 5 years now. That alone has saved me between $1200 - $1500 per year. Sure, I cannot participate in conversations about the latest episode of whatever, but most of those conversations are a complete waste of time. If the show is any good, I will eventually be able to purchase, rent, or torrent the seasons on DVD.

I have not participated in BlueRay or HD (whatever that was), or anything else that involves DRM. BlueRay especially, since they are moving towards Internet connected devices to solve their problems of encryption updates breaking forwards compatibility with new titles. Still royally pissed off how many fucking times I am begged by family members to upgrade the firmware on their BlueFucked(tm) devices to watch the latest SpiderMan.

I have not participated in social networking because I understand the true value of my privacy and anonymity.

I have not participated in any device that I cannot completely and totally own. Of course I am referring to the ridiculous statement that loading up my own operating system on hardware I purchased is "hacking", "piracy", and/or violations of the DMCA. They can go to hell. I own it, and if I want to break out their DRM model, I will do it. It's war and I am waiting. Come and get it. This of course precludes me from owning most new devices, since I no longer have the patience or geek motivation to continually fight the battle. This is of particular note with Amazon, since they actually removed content from people's devices they were legally entitled to enjoy, without compensation. Irony, at astronomical levels, being present in the 1984 scandal.

I refuse to participate in any food chain involving GMO food, High Fructose Corn Syrup, chemicals, preservatives, etc. It most certainly is the path of greatest resistance, but has huge rewards for your health and that of your family. I grow some of my own vegetables now, and spices. They not only taste better, but I am more self reliant.

I have not given into peer pressure and ridicule that I don't respond to SMS messages (total ripoff at near infinite profit margins) or have a FaceBook account. If the job requires it, I won't have that job.

I closed all my bank accounts at major banks when they got bailed out and went to smaller banks and credit unions. They don't have all the features and omni-present ATM locations, but I know I am not giving those fraudulent assholes any benefit from having my money.

That is it in a nutshell. I am willing to suffer the consequences of having these positions and ideals. If more people were aware of this and did the same things I do you might actually see corporations change. However, I am the extreme minority.

First Privacy Violation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592118)

Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
A man is born, he's a man of means.
Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.

But they got, Diff'rent Strokes.
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes.
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

Everybody's got a special kind of story
Everybody finds a way to shine,
It don't matter that you got not alot
So what,
They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine.
And together we'll be fine....

Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
Yes it does.
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

Facebook sez: (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592122)

We have no interest in tracking people, and we've taken out this patent to make sure no one else can either.

See? We're your trustworthy friend! Come join our social network!

Re:Facebook sez: (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592494)

That's the exact logic used by Apple fanboys to defend Apple's patents on using phones as audio bugs and remote-disabling cameras.

That's evil! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592162)

So much for Darth Sidious/Palpatine being evil. This is evil concentrate.

Re:That's evil! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592324)

Hey. At least Darth Sidious was the type of evil you could get behind.

Re:That's evil! (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592780)

OTOH, Palpatine walks away muttering "Those dudes are evil." when he considers the market development team at FB.

I gave up... (3, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592168)

It was interesting and nice to connect to a lot of my old high school buddies, but I don't care where people are going for dinner, or bragging about the vacation they're on (how dumb is that, anyway?), so I logged out and deleted all my cookies. Don't know that I'll completely delete my account, but I'm not missing it.

Re:I gave up... (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592644)

It was interesting and nice to connect to a lot of my old high school buddies, but I don't care where people are going for dinner, or bragging about the vacation they're on (how dumb is that, anyway?), so I logged out and deleted all my cookies. Don't know that I'll completely delete my account, but I'm not missing it.

It's not even close to what will delete your account. In fact, they will go to great pains to not delete your account. Google "permanently delete facebook account" for the procedure. Be sure you clear all FB cookies and autologins on every device you have ever owned...

Re:I gave up... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592986)

I know... I didn't try to delete it, just logged out and deleted cookies for now. I may decide it had some use, so I didn't even try to delete my account... just leave it in limbo for a while.

Re:I gave up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593306)

same here!

Re:I gave up... (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593378)

I use Firefox as my primary browser and I wall facebook into IE. I only occasionally log into facebook to contact an old friend or something, but that's it. I have all facebook scripts blocked with NoScript and all facebook cookies blocked by CookieSafe. I also wall Google into their Chrome browser and have done the same blocks for google.com and associated sites. I have left the YouTube script, but overall I think Google is doing the same thing as facebook.

Re:I gave up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593566)

Seriously gfxguy, your Slashdot ID is low. I assume you know a thing or two about web development. If you do, then you should be well aware that disabling cooking does do jack shit. You need to disable javascript in your web browser too. If you visit any web sites that have Facebook +1 (which is an embeded javascript snippet) and your web browser has javascript enabled, Facebook can still track you! The executed javascript snippet send your info back to Facebook, such as your IP address.

Re:I gave up... (3, Insightful)

DerPflanz (525793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593578)

I'm with you. I stopped caring. Deleted my account today. Also my Google+ account. For me the whole social networking thing was taking too much time with almost nothing in return.

Next week I'll meet a friend IRL for dinner and beers. I called him to make the meeting.

Google-Plus is different (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594650)

Facebook is a social network that wants to also suck up all kinds of information about you. Google-Plus is an identity management service (according to Eric Schmidt), and has some social-networking features to suck in users.

I'm interested in social networks, though I'd prefer one that was less obnoxious. I have entirely no interest in an identity management service, especially one where I'm the product, not the customer. Schmidt clarified things in a way that made it real easy to decide whether to join G+. (And I'd long since given up on Orkut, which was fun for a few months when all my friends were joining, but gradually turned into a system for cute Brazilian guys or occasionally girls to ask to be my friend, even though my profile said I was already married and my picture was obviously way too old for them.)

We have a group of people who've been getting together IRL for dinner for decades. We use email/web to coordinate where we're going to dinner - once upon a time that was effectively a social filter.

Re:I gave up... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593938)

I don't care where people are going for dinner, or bragging about the vacation they're on

You do realize that's like "I can watch news on TV and I've got a stash of Playboys so I canceled my Internet connection," right? People do use Facebook for dumb things, but it's also a heck of a networking tool.

Facebook, defaced faeces collectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592234)

Facebook, defaced faeces collectors. No shit! Turds.

Scope and methods (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592286)

For everybody getting freaked out, I'm pretty sure by third party sites, they mean sites they have a partnership with, too lazy to find which ones, but I posted like a month ago about this when it first surfaced.

They are only tracking you with their affiliates with which they have achieved systems integration. A cookie is the legacy best practice code approach to sharing data between two sites. I'm sure they had business reasons for using a cookie rather than a web service (helps the smarter than average bear not get tracked since cookies are client based, while a web service happens on the back end).

I want to make it very clear I'm not defending facebook for tracking its users, but they are not tracking EVERY site like the majority of slashdotters seem to be implying.

And last, but not least, merry christmas, tin foil hat ready,

http://blog.blackdown.de/2010/05/20/stop-facebook-from-tracking-you-on-third-party-sites/ [blackdown.de]

Re:Scope and methods (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592794)

Exactly. You can't share your Spotify tracks or Netflix que on your timeline without something that monoitors activity while you are on other sites. Not sure why everyone on here is freaking out. If you want to share your life online, you'll have to allow FB to track your life. If you don't want to, stay off FB.

Re:Scope and methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593900)

If you don't want Mark Zuckerburg installing cameras in your washroom, just don't use facebook! Oh you signed up for facebook before they started publishing the toilet cam videos all over your wall? Yeah, you're too late... but it's really not that bad anyway guys I swear!

Translation (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592330)

"Nobody likes this? Well fine. We'll patent it." .....

"Hey guys, leave enough looseness in it so it can be cross-referenced in the future." .....

"If you don't like the way WE do it, then nobody can do it. End of story. Nyaaaaaaaah!!!!"

/humor.....?

Huh? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592340)

Apart from the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a bad dude, how can you patent tracking cookies with a database back end? I mean, that sort of shit has been going on since the 1990s, done by other pre-Zuckerberg evil motherfuckers. What exactly is novel about this? It's like Saddam Hussein patenting "a place where people are burned for eternity and jabbed by evil bastards with pitchforks."

Re:Huh? (2)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592540)

exactly, what about prior art .. this is just ignorant, let's see if the USPTO approves this patent.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592800)

How did you get S.H into this and why don't you also talk about similar crimes by various POTUS and also these POTUS who supported S.H in all his crimes?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594508)

@MightyMartin: Ya, it's like United States invading into other countries, including Iraq, only to destroy "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and establish global peace!!

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594552)

Apart from the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a bad dude, how can you patent tracking cookies with a database back end? I mean, that sort of shit has been going on since the 1990s, done by other pre-Zuckerberg evil motherfuckers. What exactly is novel about this? It's like Saddam Hussein patenting "a place where people are burned for eternity and jabbed by evil bastards with pitchforks."

@MightyMartin: Ya, it's like United States invading into other countries, including Iraq, only to destroy "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and establish global peace!!

give them the patent for it, and... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592390)

tell them you will arrest them and put em in prison for violating people's privacy if they use it...

Re:give them the patent for it, and... (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592892)

Well, the US does not place any legal requirement on companies related to privacy in general. (There are a number of niche laws, e.g. HIPAA, but in general companies can collect, mix, sell, ... data about your person, and you have basically no say in that.)

The EU does have a privacy directive, and at least some member countries consider "having control about your personal data" a human right. Still violating the EU data protection directive usually means only an administrative fine, although if they piss of the Irish authorities, 100K€ (>100US$) per complaint, potentially repetitively if they don't stop to violate the law, could make it very expensive for Facebook. And moving out of Ireland would be expensive tax wise (Ireland is a corporate tax heaven, which officially as an EU member is not a tax heaven, as are certain US states, that would probably meet the objective criteria for a tax heaven, but still are not on any official list, as they are US states. So facebook might move out Ireland, but that would mean a hit on profitability, not sure how the IRS thinks about certain "official" tax heavens in the Caribbean.)

Before somebody cries "but Google is doing the same" => well, not exactly, for non-logged in users they've worked out a compromise. dropping part of the IP address (and potentially other stuff). The operative word is that they did contact the German data protection authorities on their own, worked with them, and did not mail out notices to citizens that they do not even plan to keep their legal requirements. (Hint: If they really need a human to assemble the personal information PDF, then they are doing it wrong. Checking that the personal data matches => well that's what you hire temps for.)

So Facebook corporate officers won't be arrested entering the EU, but their Irish subsidiary might be fined quite a bit. The Irish data protection authority already planned to audit them, which suggests that the public available information indicates to them that there might be a problem. And now they have at least two dozen formal complaints. So if they manage to piss the authority off, they could issue slightly over 2 million € fines immediately, plus one fine per user that does not get his/her data inside the 40 days. Not very probable in the first round that the authority will go for maximum fines, but the real issue is that a number of complaints will make it necessary to redo the facebook technical design to get in compliance. And a number of complaints point to core business ideas of FB, and are completely incompatible with Union law. So if people continue to complain about them, and FB does not fix their systems and their business model, they are bound to piss off the data protection authority, no matter how business-friendly authorities usually are.

And I guess the patent won't help them either, it documents their business practices publicly. They could probably manage to track their own users by having a ToS that allows that, although they didn't even bother to change the boilerplate ToS from US to EU legal standards (and an US-style ToS will most certainly not fly in Europe), but they also track non-users, and for non-users there is no way they can assume consent. So they need to implement either similar precautions that anonymize the data enough (what Google does), or to stop the tracking completely.

How can an action (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592448)

How can an action That is against the law "Privacy Laws" be patented? Reasonable question don't ya think?

Don't "do facebook", anyone question... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592458)

WHY I also set myself up the way I do online layering of security measures, in:

---

1.) Custom HOSTS files (mine's currently 1,586,590++ entries strong vs. known malicious sites/servers, botnet C&C servers, bogus adbanners (& ads in general) servers, phishing + spamming sites, & for security's sake alone (I get more out of it speedwise too via "hardcoding fav. sites" into it also, avoiding DNS redirected-poisoned dns servers, & getting there faster by avoiding them totally (their slower lookup vs. my SSD based & cached ones from HOSTS, locally, instead of slower remotely)).

2.) DNSBL filtering DNS servers (NortonDNS, OpenDNS, ScrubIT DNS are all in my IP stack dns servers list, & in my router-firewall too).

3.) Firewall IP rules tables (to catch IP addresses more than host-domain named ones - HOSTS does that too)

4.) IP Security Policies (Via Windows NT-based OS' security policies (I do both domain & local level here)).

5.) OS security hardening -> http://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=%22HOW+TO+Secure+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&btnG=Search [google.com] , which includes remotely listening services if not needed especially &/or potentially vulnerable ones + shares remotely solicited.

6.) IP stack hardening -> http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff648853.aspx [microsoft.com]

---

( & FAR more in the way of "layered-security/defense-in-depth" stuff, such as using Opera 11.51 to setup a GLOBAL policy for all sites to not use javascript, iframes, cookies, plugins, java etc. "everywhere", & only set it up, via Opera's "By Site Preferences" exceptions list, & only for sites that actual DEMAND their usages (think ecommerce sites) only - PLUS, using its urlfilter.ini file, custom .pac files, & custom CSS sheets )

I.E.-> To simply stay away from what makes you "sick online" by lessening its attack surface area + tools it can use against you (as well as for you, the double-edged sword that any scripted document, yes, including HTML ones, can be)

Why?

* See my p.s. below...

APK

P.S.=> I do ALL that, & more, just to avoid:

---

A.) Tracking (not using javascript @ all, or using sites that 'track you' not only thru their own mass, but thru the mass of other sites too? For Pete's sake, lol, 'enough already')

B.) To avoid malware

C.) To avoid losses of speed & to gain back loads of it too!

D.) To obtain great security for decades online

E.) To get MORE OF WHAT I PAY FOR OUT OF POCKET!

---

Is why, & I have for DECADES now (so have others in the url's above)...haven't been infected online since 1996 in fact because of the above & can make a DSL connection seem like high-end cable or FIOS for websurfing online... +, 4 FREE, & the above's just a part of the "how" is all...

... apk

Re:Don't "do facebook", anyone question... (2)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592566)

dude .. 1,586,590++ entries in your host file ..are you for real?
what, you think that setting up a local BIND might affect performance?
must be a troll and I bit.

Re:Don't "do facebook", anyone question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592980)

APK is either the world's most dedicated troll or the world's most hyperlame aspie. Nobody really knows which, but since the same response is correct for both, it doesn't really matter.

An application of... "ReVeRsE-PsYcHoLoGy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593102)

".rettam yllaer t'nseod ti ,htob rof tcerroc si esnopser emas eht ecnis tub ,hcihw swonk yllaer ydoboN .eipsa emalrepyh tsom s'dlrow eht ro llort detacided tsom s'dlrow eht rehtie si KPA" - by Anonymous Coward ANOTHER "ne'er-do-well" /. OFF-TOPIC TROLL on Monday October 03, @04:06PM (#37592980)

"???"

Uhm... Could we get a translation of that off-topic "troll-speak/trolllanguage" of yours, please?

---

* And, you're an off-topic troll - no questions asked... in addition to being the World's FIRST & FOREMOST "SiDeWaLk-ShRiNk of /." , lol, minus his PhD, a license to practice, & no formal examination of myself in a professional environs to deliver his "insta-snap 'Prognosis-Diagnosis'" for us too!

SEE MY SUBJECT LINE ABOVE!

APK

P.S.=> Yes, it must have just have been another off-topic done nothing of significance with his life troll spewing his off-topic b.s. again & not contributing to the ongoing conversations. Oh well - No biggie!

("ReVeRsE-PsYcHoLoGy", for trolls - Courtesy of this code by "yours truly" in less than 1 second flat):

---

#TrollTalkComReversePsychologyKiller.py (Ver #2 by APK)

def reverse(s):
    try:
        trollstring = ""
        for apksays in s:
        trollstring = apksays + trollstring
    except:
        print("error/abend in reverse function")
    return trollstring

s = ""
print reverse(s)

try:
  s = "Insert whatever 'trollspeak/trolllanguage' gibberish occurs here..."
  s = reverse(s)
  print(s)
except Exception as e:
  print(e)

---

... apk

Don't need a DNS server here, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593026)

Why waste CPU/RAM/Other forms of I-O using something I don't need?

* Yes, the # of entries is very real (been building it since 1997)...

APK

P.S.=> Besides: I also want to avoid DNS recursion problems & the like (ala DNS-poisoning)...

... apk

Re:Don't "do facebook", anyone question... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593370)

I think setting a whitelist would be more effective...

I do whitelisting in HOSTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593684)

Albeit MOSTLY, for speed & reliability (some security via "anonymity" too, avoiding DNSBL) in HOSTS though, for 250 of my fav. sites (what I called "hardcoding" to avoid DNS totally for them in my initial replies here..).

APK

EU Cookie Law (Directive 2009/136/EC) (2)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592466)

This appears to circumvent the EU cookie law and could be sold to others as a means for doing the same. Evil, or evil genius?

CS-

Re:EU Cookie Law (Directive 2009/136/EC) (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592978)

Well, judges love it if you try to circumvent laws.

And I do not think that you can circumvent this directive as easily, as in fact it clears up handling of cookies, and allows cookies in some situations. The generic data protection directive that this directive amends, is still law, and it's more strict (although in more generic terms) on cookie usage. And I do not think that Facebook has any legitimate legal purpose to track non-users. Or to create shadow profiles from data other users have provided them, even potentially linking it with an identifying cookie. So paragraph 66 of the directive does not help Facebook.
 

About dang time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592572)

It'll be nice to have one place that knows all my deepest darkest secrets. The ad's will be extremely specific, which I like because now I wont have to go shopping, I'll own so much useless stuff from my impulse purchases. With Facebook on my cell, tablet, and laptop they'll know where and what I'm doing, who knows maybe the next time I post something about what to buy a Sales person will come up to me and make a recommendation! /Sarcasm

Prior Art (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592582)

Given that Facebook ALREADY tracks you via various methods between sites (usually with the little 'like' button, but also with cookies and non-displaying javascript), unless this is yet another tracking method, does their existing use not invalidate their patent? Does pushing client side code count as publishing? It looks like they're trying to patent the entire method, rather than just the unseen back-end.

Re:Prior Art (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592716)

This is true. Facebook tracks you all over the place with their Like buttons and does who-knows-what with the data. They'll even get a little info on you if you have their scripts blocked, the tracking can work on a basic level using pure HTML.

How can they patent that??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592610)

Forget privacy etc, there must be loads of prior art. They've just added the phrase 'social networking system' to a generic description of any 3rd party tracking system.

The sane users already left Dodge. (2)

Foxhoundz (2015516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592622)

The few individuals concerned with their privacy have long fled Facebook. Whatever changes Facebook makes will only hurt those idiotic enough to stay on the social networking site.

Re:The sane users already left Dodge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592856)

but the majority of the 18-30 crowd are on it - and so even for those of us who are not, it is still something that can hurt all of us.

For example, to some extent the BBC UK service, but certainly the BBC World Service, trail the "contact us at facebook" line for programs - it is the only way they are allowing people to contact them. It is insidious.

Facebook is a a deeply, deeply suspect organisation - history will judge.

Re:The sane users already left Dodge. (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594350)

to some extent the BBC UK service, but certainly the BBC World Service, trail the "contact us at facebook" line for programs - it is the only way they are allowing people to contact them. It is insidious.

They publish their contact address:

BBC World Service
Bush House, The Strand
London WC2B 4PH
UK

They also have a web-form to contact them: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/institutional/2009/03/000000_contact_us.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

Hi-tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592728)

The subject made me wonder what kind of sorcery they applied, only to find out they apply the old 'please tell me what happened' trick. I'm slightly disappointed.
OTOH, it is only marginally less disturbing.

Just block the cookies. (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592850)

Block cookies in your browser from *.facebook.com. Problem solved.

(Note that this will prevent you from using Facebook as well.)

Re:Just block the cookies. (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593386)

Solution 2:

Get two browsers. Set one dedicated browser for facebook, block all cookies in primary.

Problem solved.

Solution 3:

Set a rule using adblock/noscript (can't remember which it was) to disallow *.facebook.com cookies except on facebook.com

Problem solved.

Yet another reason... (2)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592914)

...not to use FB.

Also not using G+.

I am interested in Diaspora [joindiaspora.com] . Then again, I don't really care that much about web based "social networking". I talk to my family and friends in person, on the phone, and via email and SMS. I'm not looking for a bunch of new casual acquaintances, I already have a date lined up every week (or more) for the rest of my life, and I don't have time to read about other peoples' breakfasts. (What am I doing here on /., then?)

What did you think that "Like" button was for? (2)

Eric Freyhart (752088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592950)

When Facebook introduced the "Like" button which could be installed on other websites across domains it was obvious (at least to me) that it would become a way to trace users on other websites. Anywhere you now see a "Like" button by Facebook you can be assured that your stored cookie information is being transmitted to Facebook directly for tracking purposes.

Now, I have not looked into the code for the "Like" button, but it would not surprise me at all that this will be the means they use.

Small Tracking Pixel, if you are logged in or not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592972)

the third-party website 140 transmits a conversion page, such as a confirmation or "thank you" page to the user at the user's client device. In particular embodiment, this page includes an embedded call or code segment (e.g., JavaScript) in the HTML or other structured document code (e.g., in an HREF (Hypertext REFerence) that, in particular embodiments, generates a tracking pixel that, when executed by the client's browser or other rendering application, generates a tracking pixel or image tag that is then transmitted to the social network system (whether the user is logged into the social network system or not). The tracking pixel or image tag then communicates various information to the social network system about the user's action on the third-party website. By way of example, the tracking pixel or call may transmit parameters such as the user's ID (user ID as registered with the social network system), a product ID, information about the third-website, timestamp information about the timing of the purchase or other action, etc.

This _almost_ sounds like a great deal (2)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593038)

In a perfect world they would get their patent and sue anyone else who tried to track users in the same manner into the ground. Then we'd only have to worry about one site horribly violating our privacy and those who cared could avoid it.

Unfortunately in the real world Facebook would only be all too happy to license this special secret technology to anyone willing to pay the appropriate fees.

Re:This _almost_ sounds like a great deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594178)

In a perfect we sue them all!

In the mean time I have a much easier solution....

Add an option to all browsers defaulted to on that will block all 3rd party cookies and scripts.

We can't stop companies from selling our data but we can sure as hell make it a lot harder than a drive by script where nobody seems accountable and a 12 year old can implement it in seconds. Imagine if everyone had to setup DNS entries pointed to Facebook with certificates or internal applications for things Google Analytics. I think we'd see a lot less of this.

Ghostery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593052)

Get the Ghostery extension for your browser. Prevent the greedy companies from tracking you.

Cookie sandboxing (1)

heson (915298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593126)

I need a tabbed browser with cookie sandboxing, or several instances of separate browsers (like firefox portable or whatever) merged into a tabbed window.

I have no problem with facebook and google+ keeping track of my every move if my browser is the equivalent of the James Bond rotating number plate.

Please suggest solutions.

Do I Need a Separate Browser Now? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593202)

Do I need a separate browser, with separate cookie storage, just for running Facebook? Or does it need its own virtual machine? It's own separate computer and Internet connection?

Or do I need a government to slam the hammer down hard on FB?

Re:Do I Need a Separate Browser Now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594036)

That's what I use for Google+. I have two accounts with G+, so I have two Chrome users with separate data directories (I figured that Chrome, being Google's browser, was most appropriate for the dedicated, logged-in browser). My regular, non-G+ browsing happens on a different web browser altogether. I run manually, when it seems appropriate, a script that rm-rf's all relevant caches and dbs for the non-G+ browser, and that script invokes another that wipes the entire Macromedia directory containing all Flash cookies and storage and settings; this latter anti-Flash script is run daily by cron anyway. Also, Google Analytics is blackholed in /etc/hosts, and Ghostery gives me control over Google's +1 and FriendConnect.

So, Google+ should only ever learns about pages that I explicitly paste into the browser to share with friends: it gets no other tracking info, unless Google's monitoring IP addresses, at which point we're all screwed anyway.

And, yeah, I deleted my Facebook account long ago. "Friends" are people that I see and interact with in real life; people who only exist on a computer are not my friends.

Re:Do I Need a Separate Browser Now? (1)

intosh (2466142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594362)

Do I need a separate browser, with separate cookie storage, just for running Facebook? Or does it need its own virtual machine? It's own separate computer and Internet connection?

Well, new browser profile is a must as also totally new IP address - use it only for FB. Change also location (geolocation) and MAC address... :)

My friends use my computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593210)

Hi /. Community,

I share my wifi with my neighbours. 9 directly - and when their sisters or friends come over, probably 15 people.

On top of that, my own laptop is used by at least 3 other people for facebook when they visit to show me stuff.

I am not a facebook user.

So unless they want to start locking down computers to biometric data, their profiles are not accurate in my part of the world.

Hope this helps someone one day - there are atypical cases of computer use all through society.

Are you sure it's Facebook? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593396)

I don't see where in the patent application that it says Facebook is the applicant.

Not that I'm a fan of FB (I plan to leave during the Great Facebook Postout on 10/10), but are they really the ones who filed the patent?

Re:Are you sure it's Facebook? (3, Informative)

enilnomi (797821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593906)

This guy's pretty sure [seobythesea.com] : While the patent doesn't say on its face that it belongs to Facebook, it is listed in the USPTO assignment database as being assigned to Facebook.

Re:Are you sure it's Facebook? (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594026)

About 40% down the page, you'll see "(e.g., facebook.com/impression.php)", as well as some sample code with a Facebook URL in it, and another reference to a Facebook URL. I think it'd be extremely unusual for one company to use a different companies URL's in their examples in papers. Although I suppose it's possible. Also, I found out at http://seobythesea.com/2011/09/facebook-patent-application-target-ads/ [seobythesea.com] , that this patent is assigned to Facebook in the USPTO assignment database.

Seriously! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593438)

Public education institutions should be more proactive about Facebook. Majority users on Facebook are aged from 10s to 30s. Schools and colleges should start sending a firm message to these group to let that know what you write and uploads to Facebook are owned by this evil company and they can do whatever they wish to those personal data. School institutions should tell this group that is NEVER safe to be on Facebook. You need to tell that to your family members and friends.

Facebook is out of control DAY ONE.

Well, yeah. (3, Interesting)

thejoelpatrol (764408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593618)

If you're still listening to anything Facebook says, I don't know what else to tell you. This is hardly the first time they've lied about something like this. They say things that are so implausible that they aren't worth listening to. They want every piece of data. Period. They will do whatever they can to get more data on people. Any time they say something to the contrary, they are lying.

How is this patentable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593718)

Ok, I've only read the part of the patent shown in the summary, but it just doesn't strike me as something that hasn't been done before. Take away the phrase "social network" and you basically have what those ad networks have been doing since half at least half a decade ago.

So let's rather talk about how angry this makes me feel. I'd never have thought it would be Facebook applying for such a patent.

This is outrage!

Congratulations! (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593818)

Congratulations Facebook! You just became the first domain I've ever completed blocked from being allowed to set any cookies on my machine. You win!

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594056)

So what? Facebook makes its billions off of advertising. So a computer algorithm tracks your surfing habits and tries to target its marketing. They're not "tracking" you, you're not that interesting. Besides, Big Brother can already personally track you and all the pages you visit, should you be one of the few who are interesting.

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